I ENTIRELY agree with Cllr Duncan that this is not the right time for local government reorganisation (Gazette & Herald, October 14) and feel the matter is being pursued with unseemly haste.

But I do not agree with his proposal to create just two new authorities on an east-west model. I really do not think that proposing to incorporate York is a good idea.

York is a proud city, for many years the second city in England and the home of the council of the north. It is already a unitary authority and I cannot see what benefit merging with the districts would achieve.

Selby is geographically rather isolated and makes little sense tacked on to the northern districts. It would be more logical to join it with York, with which it has strong associations.

The remaining six North Yorkshire districts could then be split into two authorities of three existing districts each. Ryedale, Scarborough and Hambleton in the east and Richmondshire, Craven and Harrogate in the west. This would be geographically more balanced and less unwieldy than Cllr Duncan’s proposals.

I think we need to abandon the government’s crazy timetable and have a proper process of consultation and discussion, involving the whole populace. This is too important an issue to rush through at a time of national crisis.

Mike Gwilliam, Norton

MP failed again

ON October 12, our MP Kevin Hollinrake voted against an amendment that would have protected farmers and consumers from low-standard food imports, including chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef.

The Agriculture Bill is the most important piece of farming legislation to come before Parliament in decades. The amendment tabled by Conservative MP Neil Parish would have enshrined in law the rejection of low-welfare food from the USA.

Julian Sturdy, the Conservative MP for York Outer voted in favour, saying earlier, “Our producers have worked for decades to raise our standards and this could easily be lost if they are set at a structural disadvantage while allowing in a flood of low-quality imports”.

Kevin Hollinrake has again failed to support the farming community he claims to represent. Many constituents will be wondering whether he really doesn’t care or whether he is too timid to speak out.

Dr Peter Williams, Malton

Wasted opportunity

I READ R Henley’s letter in the Gazette & Herald (September 30) about Kevin Hollinrake not supporting an amendment to the Agriculture Bill which would have legally protected the UK’s high food standards now that the UK is leaving the EU.

Sadly, I see he has wasted another opportunity to support his constituents, from those who work in agriculture to the overwhelming majority of us who want to see the UK’s high standards maintained.

An amendment to the Agriculture Bill proposed by Lord Curry was passed by the House of Lords with a majority of 107. The amendment was supported by Conservative peer Baroness McIntosh of Pickering whovwas our constituency MP before Kevin Hollinrake. As for Lord Curry, he knows a lot about farming. He chaired the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food that helped the industry recover from the disastrous Foot and Mouth disease outbreak of 2001.

If the amendment had passed into law, it would have given the Trade and Agriculture Commission, set up in June, the power to provide Parliament with independent advice on the impact of all future trade deals on British food and farming standards. The Commission would have established criteria for maintaining standards that could not have been ignored. Why did Kevin Hollinrake vote against it?

Dave Yellen, Butterwick

Family search

I WONDER if anyone can help me. I am looking for information that will allow me to add to my family story.

My name is John Kingsgate. I was born on October 21, 1945, in Westow Croft, Westow, and then taken to Newstead House, Norton. After which I was adopted and sent down to London. I stayed there for five years and then I entered a boarding school in Surrey where I lived until the age of 16.

I would appreciate it if anyone can forward any stories or history as to why Westow Croft was used as a maternity home, what it was like and what has happened to it since.

I was fortunate to visit Westow House (from the outside) a few years ago, but did not have the courage to knock on the door. I was hoping to revisit this year on my 75th birthday, but due to the virus that will not happen. So I thought I would reach out via this medium.

Please feel free to send me any information that you might have to johnkingsgate@yahoo.co.uk

John Kingsgate